In TNR Peter Schäfer has negatively reviewed Daniel Boyarin's new Jesus Book.
The bottom line according to Schäfer is, "BOYARIN’S BOOK leaves the reader irritated and sad. It has very little that is new to offer—and what appears to be new is wildly speculative and highly idiosyncratic. Even judged by its commendable intentions—to win over dogmatic defenders of the perfect uniqueness of Christianity or Judaism—it is disappointing."
The idiosyncratic nature of the book can be seen from its TOC:
1. From Son of God to Son of ManHere we have the menu: Christology mixed with kosher mixed with messiah talk. The agenda of the book is confusing if it exists at all.
2. The Son of Man in First Enoch and Fourth Ezra: Other Jewish Messiahs of the First Century
3. Jesus Kept Kosher
4. The Suffering Christ as a Midrash on Daniel
Epilogue: The Jewish Gospel
In the Foreword to the book Jack Miles writes,
In chapter 3 of the book you are about to read, titled “Jesus Kept Kosher,” Boyarin writes:Miles does no favor to Boyarin by citing up front a section with phrases like these:
Most (if not all) of the ideas and practices of the Jesus movement of the first century and the beginning of the second century—and even later—can be safely understood as part of the ideas and practices that we understand to be “Judaism.”. . . The ideas of Trinity and incarnation, or certainly the germs of those ideas, were already present among Jewish believers well before Jesus came on the scene to incarnate in himself, as it were, those theological notions and take up his messianic calling.
- "Most (if not all)"
- "present among Jewish believers"
- that we understand to be “Judaism”
- "or certainly the germs of those ideas"
Whether Boyarin is "unaware" or "aware" what Schäfer means to say is that he does not "cite" this work in the book and that diminishes its value as a work of scholarship. Further, Schäfer makes it utterly clear that he is not convinced of the value of the core insights or analyses of this book.